TMJ: Treating Jaw Pain

We have many patients who come into the clinic complaining of jaw pain. We often use the catch-all term “TMJ” to describe all kinds of jaw pain, although it technically stands for temporomandibular joint. TMJ is often a result of muscular strain, rather than a structural issue with the joint itself. It can cause all kinds of pain in the jaw, but also the neck, face and head. It can even cause symptoms with the ears, including tinnitus (ear-ringing) or a plugged feeling in the ears. We often see a connection between TMJ and sinus issues, with patients presenting with frontal headaches and sinus pressure. There are not many treatments offered by conventional medicine that provide long-term relief, and many of the therapies offered, including bite guards and medications, can be cumbersome and do not fully address the problem.

Acupuncture has been found to offer immediate relief from TMJ symptoms, as well as effectively treat stress, one of the leading contributing factors to TMJ pain. Research has been done and continues to show that TMJ is very common for people who also report high levels of stress. TMJ is also very common in women. At Acupuncture Northwest, we specialize in trigger point acupuncture, a method that allows us to find and release the tight muscles responsible for the jaw pain. Some of the most common muscles involved are the masseter (our chewing muscle), temporalis, SCM and trapezius muscles. We also address the underlying causes for the jaw pain, including muscle tension, stress, teeth grinding, sleep issues, and other factors that might be in play.

There is no need to continue to suffer with TMJ symptoms. Acupuncture is an easy and effective way to release tight muscles and relieve pain!